Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XVIII. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
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LETTER XVIII. - Niccolo Machiavelli, The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505) 
The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings of Niccolo Machiavelli, tr. from the Italian, by Christian E. Detmold (Boston, J. R. Osgood and company, 1882). Vol. 3.
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Magnificent Signori: —
The enclosed was written yesterday, but as no courier has been despatched since then, I could not send it, nor do I know now when it will go, as there is no regular postal service. I have to inform your Lordships that it was not until to-day that the Pope assembled the Cardinals of Naples, Amboise, Capaccio, Lisbon, Aragon, San Giorgio, Volterra, and three or four others of the oldest Cardinals, who have the honor of the Church and ecclesiastical liberty most at heart. They deliberated a long while on the affairs of Romagna, and resolved to depute some one to Venice. Their choice fell upon Angelo Leonino, Bishop of Tivoli, who will leave immediately with instructions to induce the government of Venice to disarm, and to restore to the hands of the Pope what they have wrongfully taken from him. They have decided also to send another deputy into Romagna, who should be some person of distinction. They wanted to appoint the Bishop of Ragusa to this mission, but, as they could not agree about it, the appointment was conferred on the Cardinal Volterra. He has gone this evening to have another conference with his Holiness; but it is too late for me to wait and learn the result. His instructions will be to do all he can to quiet these disturbances, to try to restore tranquillity, and to re-establish things as far as possible for the advantage of the Church. Everything tends to show that Julius II. is most anxious to save these states for the Church, and there is no lack of persons here who encourage him incessantly in this desire. His Eminence of Volterra is wide awake on this subject, as well as on all other matters that concern the general welfare of our republic. He does not cease being at the feet of his Holiness to maintain and dispose him still more favorably to Florence, to which he is already well inclined. He also solicits the other Cardinals, pointing out to them the ambition of the Venetians, the dangers to which their own liberties are exposed, and in fact he does all that your Lordships could suggest or ask of him. I deem it but right to bear witness to this, so that your Lordships may know how zealous and distinguished an advocate you have at this court, and that you may appreciate deservingly the great virtues of his Eminence, and his love and entire devotion to his country.
I must not omit to inform your Lordships that I have understood that the Pope complained bitterly to the Venetian ambassador of the proceedings of his government, telling him that he never could have believed that they had so little regard for the affection which he had always shown their country as to seek to dishonor and dismember the Church under his Pontificate; and that, if they persevered in that conduct, he would break all bonds of friendship, and submit to general ruin rather than suffer the Church to be dishonored and dismembered, and that he would arouse the whole world against them. To all which, it is said, the Venetian ambassador replied in the mildest manner, etc., etc.
I learn from Monsignor di Bentivogli, who says that he has it direct from the Venetian envoy, that the Senate had appointed eight ambassadors who were to come here and make their submission to his Holiness. He thinks the Venetian Senate did this, knowing that such incense and demonstrations of honor are an article greatly prized by Julius II., which they ought not to omit to employ. I have deemed it well to mention this to your Lordships, so that, if true, you may not allow yourselves to be outdone in these sort of demonstrations. And the sooner you send such ambassadors the more welcome will they be, and the more advantages you will derive from it; for his Eminence of Volterra cannot play two parts at once, except at the cost of one or the other, and therefore it will be well to anticipate the others.
The news from the French camp is that they are entirely masters of the Garigliano, and have no fears of being driven from their positions; but they have not advanced beyond that, owing to the inundations that extend over many miles of country. Gonsalvo is said to have retreated to a position between Sessa and Capua.
Gianpaolo Baglioni writes that he cannot start with his troops because he has not yet received the money from Florence, and says that he has sent some one to you on that account. It is said that the Cardinal d’Amboise is a little vexed at this, and that it has caused him to change the destination of Baglioni, whom he intends now to send into camp, and not to the Abruzzi, as had been decided the other day. It is also said that, inasmuch as Bartolommeo di Alviano was to have joined the Spaniards, the French also desire to have the credit of receiving fresh troops; although according to report Bartolommeo and the Orsini have taken but few troops there, and are enlisting men all the time. I learn that the said Bartolommeo has twenty-five men-at-arms at Viterbo, who are waiting for money before moving forward. And thus on both sides the attack and the defence proceed but slowly.
Of the Duke Valentino I have nothing more to report, except that his troops are still here, nor has he started himself, and thus the matter remains just as it was two days ago; but they still give out that they will start in two or three days. The report has been spread throughout all Rome that the Duke is going to Florence to be your general. Similar stories are constantly put in circulation here.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 16 November, 1503.
P. S. — I have forgotten to say that the last letters I have from your Lordships are of the 8th. The plague is doing its duty well, and spares neither the houses of the Cardinals nor any others where it can find victims, and yet no one here makes any account of it. Iterum valete!